Second Black Bear Sighting on UM Campus in Several Days
University of Montana Police reported a second black bear sighting on Sunday. 9-1-1 reported the sighting that occurred near the UM tennis courts.
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks program manager Vivaca Crowser explains why bears are foraging for food so close to humans at this time of year.
“Hyperphagia what's going on this time of year,” said Crowser. “Bears are out and about, they're really active trying to find all the food they can before winter sets on. The best thing to do around bears, and really any animal, is just to stop, give it space to leave the area. And if the bear hasn't spotted you yet, and you've stopped, just try to move slowly in the other direction and most likely, that'll give it a chance to do the same thing and it will never be any more of an encounter than that.”
Crowser further advises what to do if you encounter a black bear near your home or on campus.
“You want to stop, and give it space to leave,” she said. “If it's not leaving and it seems to be either just standing its ground or maybe even moving toward you then start making some noise, talking very firmly and loudly and usually, between doing that and not moving closer to it, it's going to take the opportunity to just get out of there. It really doesn't want to get any closer to us in most cases, either.”
She reminds Missoula County residents that feeding any wild animals, including deer, is illegal.
“If you're feeding deer, for example is not only are you going to attract more deer to your neighborhood, but then eventually that can lead to issues with more predators in town and around our neighborhood,” she said. “So things like bears or mountain lions, so it's really important to remember that not only is it illegal to feed wildlife, but it's also extremely unsafe and not good for the animals. They really need to know how to keep on moving and find their natural food sources.”